SPARTANBURG, S.C. Davidson forward De’Mon Brooks finally got his rhythm back.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wildcats, who won their Southern Conference opener for the 11th time in 12 years by beating Wofford 78-63 on Saturday night.
Brooks, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored a career-high 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds (equaling his career best) for Davidson (5-10, 1-0), which snapped a five-game losing streak – its longest since the 1991-1992 season.
“It took me a little while to get back into the flow of things, to get used to the speed of the game,” said Brooks, who missed six games and a month’s worth of practice after suffering a groin injury five games into the season.
“The game finally slowed down for me, and I got back into the rhythm I had before the injury.”
Brooks had struggled since his return to the Wildcats’ lineup – in his past three games, he shot a combined 9 of 25 from the field in losses to No. 14 North Carolina, No. 10 Wichita State and College of Charleston. He also fouled out of all three games.
But against the Terriers (6-8, 1-1), Brooks was 12 of 16 from the field and also had four assists. He also finished with just three fouls.
As Brooks went, so did his teammates – Davidson shot a season-best 61.2 percent (30 of 49), hit 4 of 10 3-pointers and made 14 of 17 free throws.
“I can never recall shooting as efficiently as we did tonight,” Wildcats coach Bob McKillop said. “That was a great blend, a great balance between inside and out. (Brooks) draws a lot of attention. Credit him for getting open, and credit our guys for getting him the ball.
“Anytime you have an inside-out game, it has to be a two-man dance. We had that in operation tonight.”
Yet Wofford, behind Lee Skinner (22 points) and Spencer Collins (16 points), led twice in the opening four minutes, the last at 8-4 with 16:25 remaining. But Brooks scored 11 of his 17 first-half points during a 15-2 run, capped by his layup with 10:09 left, that put the Wildcats ahead 19-10.
Davidson would go on to lead by as many as 12 points in the half before going out at the break ahead 37-28. Brooks would also give the Wildcats their biggest lead, hitting two free throws – his final points of the night – with 4:39 left to put them ahead 75-54.
“I just felt 100 percent today,” Brooks said. “I had put some pressure on myself, but tonight we came out to have fun with it. I didn’t worry about the score, I just did what I needed to do.”
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